Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay
Governor Ron DeSantis and Visit Florida have teamed up to create a publicity campaign aimed at attracting Floridians to vacation across the state. The new tourism campaign kicked off on Wednesday, September 2, the same day the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale and Art Basel Miami Beach were cancelled because of COVID-19.
The Florida governor takes the dwindling coronavirus cases in South Florida and elsewhere as signs that it’s getting safer for people to be involved in public events and social interaction. DeSantis in recent days has emphasized that children should return to school; travelers should book flights; theme parks should open to more people; and now Floridians should vacation throughout the state.
He even suggested that closing beaches, as all of South Florida did, was never justified; it was more a response to public pressure and media coverage. The video ad encourages people to take advantage of the state’s golf courses, beaches, fishing and other outdoor activities. He made the announcement in Daytona Beach along with VISIT FLORIDA CEO and President Dana Young on.
The $13M campaign, called LOVEFL, will focus in part on unusual places and not-so-well-known attractions. A new ad features fishing, boating and other attractions, said Visit Florida CEO Dana Young.
Unfortunately for many foreign visitors, many big fall and winter events have been cancelled. Art Basel officials said that they had little choice considering the uncertainties of the pandemic, limits on international travel and quarantines. The event was supposed to take place Dec. 3-6 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The 2020 Tortuga Music Festival had hoped to go forward in October, but has been removed from this year’s calendar entirely.
DeSantis said it’s safe to visit theme parks and other Florida destinations.
At a news conference Wednesday in Daytona Beach, the governor acknowledged that 520,000 hospitality and leisure jobs have been lost since the pandemic hit, but he said COVID-19 is easing and now is the time to get people back to work.
Hotels, airlines, car rental agencies and entertainment attractions continue to deeply cut operating capacities and workforces as airplane passenger loads remain at or near record lows since the pandemic gripped the economy in mid-March.
Meanwhile, the cruise line industry is idled until at least November.
Tourism in Florida accounts for more than 1.5 million jobs and $91 billion in revenue in 2019. But, due to a global downturn in travel caused by COVID-19, Florida visitation dropped by more than 60 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2020.
Safety will be a key message in the campaign, Young said. Albeit a subtle one. Instead of explicitly mentioning virus concerns and protection measures, ads will spotlight outdoor options that reduce COVID-19 transmission risks.The campaign marks a big moment for Visit Florida, which was at risk of being eliminated in the last two legislative sessions. Lawmakers had been questioning its need and reduced the organization’s funding.
For more information on where to go to get the best experience out of your Florida trip, please visit the Visit Florida website.
Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.